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Americans scramble to file taxes in time

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(WJLA) - Was it the drenching rain or a flood of technology? Either way, by mid-afternoon on April 15, the tax day traffic tie-up felt more like a trickle at the Merrifield Post Office.

For Nina Brown, there was no waiting at the drive-thru mailbox:

“I was surprised, usually in the past they've had long lines out of the parking lot," she says.

About 35 million Americans wait until the final days to file their taxes, but fewer than ever are actually heading to the post office. The IRS expects 85-percent of tax returns to be e-filed this year.

Still, John Bumpus did his the old-fashioned way:

"I've tried to e-file in the past and I've had problems...with all the hackings going on I thought it was best not to e-file this year."

And while Bumpus was in and out in about five minutes, the same can’t be said for those calling the IRS for help – with estimated hold times ranging from 30 to 60 minutes, it can be frustrating.

The Government Accountability office says the average wait time last year was 15.5 minutes – nearly half of all calls took longer than the IRS’ own goals for response time, and four in 10 never actually reached an agent.

The IRS blames this on budgets and staffing cuts, but National Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olson isn't having any of it:

"I'm outraged...I feel that taxpayers have a right to quality service."

Alex and Hanna Rojas didn’t spend time calling the IRS, in part because they didn’t have time to waste; hours before the deadline, they’re at Liberty Tax Fairfax.

"I usually get it done ahead of time, [but] this year we just got caught up with so many things," says Alex.

And office general manager Juan Carlos Fierro knows it will be busy right up to the midnight deadline.

"We have an appointment at 10 p.m. tonight," he tells us.

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